Does WordPress need another premium opt-in form plugin? Syed from WP Beginner and Thomas Griffin, creator of the super-popular Soliloquy slider plugin seems to think so and has entered the already busy marketplace with OptinMonster. We had a chance to take it for a spin, and you can see our more than comprehensive OptinMonster Review below.
The Ultimate OptinMonster Review
This lead generation plugin was released in 2013 and has received regular updates to the point that it’s not only a WordPress plugin, it also integrates with platforms like Hubspot, SalesForce, Shopify, and Hubspot too. It’s a full-blown SaaS platform and has matured incredibly over the last several years.
As we’ve shown with past reviews, 300 words just doesn’t cut it on the SiteCare blog. We’re going deep with this review to see how this new venture stacks up against other offerings. Its sole purpose is to help you build that email list and build it fast. Because as we know, a strong email list can be a big driver for your future sales. And you like sales. I can tell you do.
But is it worth your money and does it bring anything new to the table?
Features and Usage
OptinMonster uses opt-in forms in an attempt to turn your readers and visitors into subscribers. OptinMonster provides out-of-the-box integration with the most popular email marketing services which make the setup process very simple. The sales page of the plugin boasts a 60 second setup time and I can accept that. You will want to spend more on customizing and creating the forms in order for them to fit in with your site and your content.
But Everybody Hates Popups, Right?
Many bloggers and user experience commentators throw down and discount popups in a hurry. We hate them, right? Of course, we hate them, but the reality is that for the casual browser of the web, they work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked over my dad’s shoulder while he’s browsing the web and seen him give his email address away. He drops that thing like it’s his special way to make new friends.
While we may hate them, they are still amazingly effective at capturing email addresses. In one case study, admittedly from the creators of OptinMonster, the plugin increased email subscribers by 600%, going from 70-80 new subscribers a day, to around 445 to 470.
This collection of popup case studies cites numbers anywhere from 200% to over 1000% increase in optin rates when a popup is used.
The plugin features are spread across three different pricing plans (more on those later). A quick overview of those features is as follows:
- Create unlimited forms for use on different parts of your site
- Over 8 different campaign types to choose from
- Built-in analytics and reporting: see which type of form is converting best
- A/B testing: test different forms against each other to see which styles work best on your site
- Page-level targeting: show certain forms on specific pages
- Geo-Location targeting
- Integrations with dozens of third-party marketing platforms
- Streamlined drag and drop form builder
- Optin types: a range of different design options available depending on the price plan
Perhaps the most important feature of this plugin and what separates it from the competition is the ‘exit intent’ technology. OptinMonster claims that ‘70% of site visitors who abandon your site never return’. With the premium-priced exit intent feature, the service will detect when a user is about to leave your site, and then launch the popup opt-in window.
This is a great feature to have because you can set the plugin to only show the signup form when a user is about to leave your site. People who are enjoying your content can just keep on enjoying it without disruptions, only those who are leaving will get the popup treatment. Of course, you still run the risk of annoying the deserters, but they were already leaving, and with 70% never coming back again, they’re fair game, right?
The exit-intent technology is billed as being able to ‘detect visitor behavior and prompt them with a targeted campaign at the precise moment they are about to leave. The first thing I did after reading that was put on my tinfoil hat and check my office for bugs. That level of artificial intelligence seemed extremely sophisticated for a WordPress Plugin.
However, upon closer inspection, instead of using some type of magical netbot to track my movements, it looks like the plugin detects when your mouse cursor leaves the page area of the browser and then fires up the popup. While this isn’t quite the same level of mind reading I envisioned, it is a pretty good indicator of when someone is about to leave your site.
If you choose not to upgrade to the premium exit-intent technology, or just not use it on your site, the alternative is to display the form instantly or after a delay of an interval of your choosing, which is more or less par for the course.
Setting up the plugin is very easy. Like, crazy easy. The first thing you do is create a new campaign.
To get started with OptinMonster, the first step is to click on the ‘Create Campaign’ button. From there it’s a case of selecting the optin type from the available options.
Choose a Campaign Type
As of writing this, there are 8 different campaign types to choose from when selecting your first campaign. Choose from Lightbox Popup, Full Screen Welcome Mat, Fade-in Scroll Box, Floating Bar, Countdown Timer, Sidebar Forms, Inline Forms, and Content Locker.
The floating bar type displays a horizontal bar across the full width of the browser window with space for a title caption and a sign-up form.
The slide-in type is an opt-in form that sits in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen and can be opened by the user to display your opt-in form and custom message. When closed, it displays a customized message of your creation and an expand button.
It’s not an auto-slide or popup as you might have seen on some other sites or plugins and is one that has to be activated and opened by the visitor. At least that’s the behavior we experienced in our testing.
For every optin type, there are multiple themes to choose from that allow for lots of customization options.
- Form and button colors
- Adding/rearranging content blocks
- Text fonts, size, formatting, and colors
- Button text
The ability to format individual words such as making them bold, or add your own HTML or page breaks isn’t available so you can’t get too creative with the formatting of your sales content or calls to action.
The settings are well labeled with useful descriptions so there’s no need for me to go through each of the options. A recently added feature is the ability to redirect the user after they have opted in.
This is a nice feature as you can display a thank you page that with a picture of cats, or your Facebook fan page. Or your cat’s Facebook fan page. Whatever the case, you have the flexibility to send new subscribers wherever you want after sign up.
At the configuration stage, you’re required to enter your email provider settings. The plugin seamlessly integrates with popular email marketing services such as AWeber, MailChimp, iContact, and Infusionsoft. It also has native integrations with marketing tools like Drip, Hubspot, Salesforce, and many more.
If you are using one of the supported third-party services, then it’s simply a case of choosing your provider from the drop-down menu and authenticating your account, and then selecting an appropriate list to add your subscribers to.
As you can create unlimited forms for a single site, and specify which pages those forms are going to be shown on, you can easily add your readers to different email lists, depending on what page on your site they signed up.
Use Display Rules to configure when and where to show each of the forms you have on your website. This is a great feature to have if your site covers multiple topics and you want to segment your list of subscribers for laser targeted optimization.
Once you’ve set up your integration and display rules, you can design the opt-ins using a number of pre-built themes, or can completely customize your own. The themes are modern and attractive. Each element within the themes can be customized to match your website’s branding.
Unfortunately, the plugin doesn’t write your copy for you, so you’ll need to do a little writing.
For most of the themes, the following content can be included:
- Title and Tagline
- Bullet List
- Optin Image
- Email Field Text
- Optin Submit Text
While the whole setup process can be walked through in 60 seconds as claimed, for your campaign to be effective, it will require additional thought and in most cases, supporting graphics.
As mentioned, OptinMonster comes with built-in analytics for tracking the number of times your forms were shown and how many signups they’ve achieved. The dates can be filtered using popular date periods such as today, this week, and this year.
This makes testing and setting up the forms much easier as you can get an instant overview of whether signups are successfully being registered.
A/B testing is covered by the ability to create another version of an existing opt-in. It takes just one click to create a clone and then it can be modified in any way to allow you to determine which form elements your readers respond better to.
It is true A/B testing because there’s no way to split test more than two versions of a form against each other. However, you could use different types of forms on your site and specify which pages to use them on, effectively allowing multiple forms to run, before deciding which is the most effective type for your site. Want a unique form for every post on your site? OptinMonster can handle that (although it’s probably not a recommended use case).
There are four pricing options for OptinMonster as are follows:
- Basic: $9/month – (1 site, unlimited leads, and integrations, no Exit-Intent)
- Plus: $19/month – (3 sites, A/B Testing, Social Media and eCommerce Popups, Exit-Intent)
- Pro: $29/month – (5 sites and unlimited sub-accounts, OnSite Retargeting, and Follow-up Campaigns)
- Growth: $49/month – (10 sites and unlimited sub-accounts, advanced reporting, and premium support)
All pricing options include ongoing support and updates. For full details of the plans visit the OptinMonster website.
There’s also a 100% no-risk 30-day money-back guarantee. Using this you could sign up, and then ask for a refund if you don’t see an increase in subscriber conversions, but I have a feeling that you will.
OptinMonster is very easy to use and it can be up and running on a WordPress site in next to no time. The options are all self-explanatory or clearly explained during the setup process. It’s by far the most intuitive conversion plugin I’ve ever used. They’ve gone out of their way to nail down the user experience.
If you are only looking for a lightbox option for capturing email addresses then this plugin is a good choice. The exit-intent functionality that detects when a user is about to leave your page is a feature that I haven’t seen with any other WordPress plugins and one that clearly makes it stand out in a crowded marketplace.
OptinMonster has full support for mobile forms and can render them beautifully on pretty much any mobile device.
The exit-intent functionality is the key selling point of this service, which makes it a not in-expensive option if you want the full feature set. When you look at the competition in the opt-in plugin market, it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend OptinMonster compared to something with a lower price tag like Ninja Popups if you’re looking at the plugin by itself.
However, in my mind, that isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. When it comes to ease of use, ongoing support, and overall quality of build, nothing else on the market compares to OptinMonster. This isn’t a plugin from a shady marketing group that outsourced a one-time build to eLance in order to make a quick buck and has no plans for ongoing development and support.
It’s quite the opposite. This plugin is in very active development and promises more features to come in the immediate future. So while the Pro version may seem steep now, it comes with assurances of the plugin getting better and better as time goes on. We’ve already seen that first hand in the first month.
If you value quality, innovative technology like exit intent, and a user experience that isn’t matched anywhere else on the market, then OptinMonster an investment worth making, especially considering building your email list is ultimately an investment in your business.
Note: This review does contain affiliate links, but only because this product is legit and we recommend it. We purchased the plugin with our own cash money.